Yes, I admit it — I’m one of the more than an estimated 250 million people, according to Adobe and Pagefair, who will have installed one of the myriad commercial ad blocker extensions in my browser. Look, I understand the place of solid, well-targeted advertising in supporting many of the amazing applications and websites that I use every day, but browsing the web without an ad blocker just sucks!

Display and Native Ads are Probably Gone for Good

Much has been written about the potentially crushing blow that these tools are having on publisher revenues. This is undeniably a real problem, because entertaining, thoughtful and potentially world-changing content is the backbone of what makes the internet so valuable in our modern society. Unfortunately for publishers, the blow to display ads from ad blockers is only going to get worse for traditional publishers and advertisers. AdBlockPlus released a version of its tool for Android, and Apple has ad blocking in their iOS system of its Safari browser.

If we’re honest with ourselves though, it was only a matter of time until we started thinking about the deluge of native and display ads as relics best left in the past like our crazy uncle’s leisure suit from the 70’s. In the south there is an expression, “pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered.” In this context, publisher pages heavily weighted with display, pre-roll and the more aggressive takeover advertising are standing in line for the slaughter house as more and more of us are shifting away from viewing content on those sites. The reality is that while these aggressive ads were the most effective of the genre, they still remain incredibly ineffective overall. An eMarketer report listed CTRs for all types of display ads at .50%. Lagging even further are the least intrusive static banners with CTRs less than .12%. Even this number is probably heavily inflated given how adept publishers are at placing mobile ads in ways that generate accidental clicks. Clearly, it’s time for advertisers to relegate display to the back burner and find a better way to deploy digital budgets.

In-App and Self-Curated Publishing to the Rescue

Without a doubt the two most important trends that will benefit the most from the rise of the Ad Blockers are Social Applications such as Facebook, Snapchat, etc. and Brand-owned publishing sites such as Purina’s petcentric.com, and American Express’ Open Forum. The most important thing to think about is how synergistic these two trends are in the long run.  According to comScore's 2015 Mobile App Report, 65% of growth in digital media usage is via smartphone apps. Ad blockers do not have access to owned applications like Facebook or Snapchat, and, by design, do not block owned content on hosted websites like Purina's Petcentric.

Source: 2015 Mobile App Report

The other powerful advantage that In-app advertising will always have over traditional display is simply the powerful targeting precision that is inherent in social, especially Facebook and Twitter. 

We understand the frustration of paying for useless traffic from content distribution platforms that rely on traditional display for distribution. In-app and native social content distribution allows the most precise targeting of reader acquisition. The tremendous challenge of this space? More and more of the evidence is stacking up behind the absolute necessity of having great content that is backed by a solid paid distribution plan.

Interested in starting a paid media distribution campaign today? Get started with our platform, here.

About David Guy

David Guy (@dguy001) is CEO for Storylift (@getStorylift). The company’s Content Distribution Platform reaches over 200 million US readers and features the industry’s most advanced audience targeting capabilities. David is responsible for developing and leading the execution of the firm's strategy, and enabling brands to win in an increasingly competitive social media landscape.